There were several things that concerned Jennie Weston most about her best friend, Viola Marin. There was her irresponsible and reckless nature, the boy sitting next to her, the fact that she could out drink Jennie on a bad night, and a dozen other things but what concerned her most was that Viola was 21 and didn't know how to drive. This was an incorrect statement. Viola was 21 and had just recently got her driver's license, so according to the state of New York Viola knew how to drive. The main concern of Jennie at that exact moment was that Viola was driving.

Every month or so, Jennie made the tedious trip from Manhattan to her hometown of Burlington, Vermont. If it weren't for her younger brother, she would never step foot in the state again. In 9th grade, her father had gotten a job offer in the City, and had moved their family over to Long Island. When her mother had passed away several years prior, his father had packed up her four year old brother, Christopher, and moved back to the Green Mountain state. It was probably better for Christopher to grow up in Burlington. Living in Massapequa had probably been the start of many downfalls for Jennie.

For whatever horrible urge had possessed her, Jennie had ended up inviting her best friend Viola, and Viola's roommate, EJ Dallas, along with her. She must be tired. Or in shock. Or something equally stupid.

This had begun several months ago, when the three of them had been at the Greenpoint bar where Viola worked as a shot girl. EJ and Jennie had gone down towards the end of Viola's shift to go bar hop with her after her shift ended, and somehow the conversation had turned to modes of transportation. Which then turned into Viola's lack of driving skills, which had shocked and appalled EJ. This information had not been new news to EJ, but if it wasn't in a textbook or said to him in a lab, knowledge didn't have a habit of sticking with him. However, it became his new goal in life to get Viola behind a wheel and in possession of a driver's license.

For her part, Viola had fought it tooth and nail. She had been born and raised in Astoria, Queens and had never saw the need or felt the desire to drive a car. But EJ won, because he was persistent and annoying and EJ. And now she was driving to Vermont, because EJ had insisted that she needed practice.

Jennie loved EJ to death, except for the moments where she hated him. Her nauseated stomach was currently forcing her feelings more towards the hate side of things.

"I don't understand the appeal," Viola was saying to an uninterested EJ. "All I can do is drive."

"So?" EJ had the iPod in his hand, and couldn't stay on the same song for longer than forty-five seconds. "It'll teach you to focus."

Jennie was impressed that all Viola did in response to that was arch an eyebrow. EJ was not one to give lecture on the importance of focusing.

"I like to read, text and eat while on my commute."

This was very true, it was rather impressive what Viola would and could do and accomplish on a train ride.

"You need to relax more." EJ turned his head slightly to look at Jennie. "Doesn't she?"

"I'm more concerned that she needs to decide if she wants to accelerate or brake."

EJ twisted his lips, meaning he agreed. He wouldn't say it out loud though, as Viola would take it as a sign that EJ should take over driving duties. Maybe Jennie should repeat it.

Instead, EJ sighed. But he let the song continue on the way through, so Jennie supposed she should settle for what she could get. Viola slammed on the brakes as the car turned a corner. Jennie wished contentment were easier to achieve. Beggars were forever choosers.

Jennie had finally been able to nap lightly as they passed through upstate New York, but she could tell the moment they crossed the state line in Vermont. It wasn't the poorly kept road with their multiple potholes, or even the abundance of trees around them.

No, it was Viola's announcement, "What the fuck is this?"

As Jennie blinked awake, she could see EJ doing the same. He was like a half-cat, half-puppy who had the misfortune of being born as a human. He had no attention span, was playful and enjoyed long naps during various times of the day.

"Trees?" Jennie ventured. She knew that Viola was firmly embedded in City life, but she was fairly certain that she had seen trees before.

Viola sighed. "I didn't realize they existed outside of Central Park."

That was more sarcasm than needed. "Vee."

"These guardrails, why are they here?" Viola asked, and to her credit she didn't turn her head to ask. "Why can't I see what's beyond them? What is beyond them?"

EJ laughed and answered simply, "Death."

"EJ, I am driving the next time we can pull over," Jennie spoke up, attempting to flex her toes awake from the sleep they had fallen into. There was only so much she could take, and she had reached her limit. Death by flying over the edge of a mountain was the limit.

"Hu-fucking-zah," Viola mumbled. "I hate traveling."

"You and EJ go on road trips all the time," she pointed out. Viola frequently did not make any sense. She had what Jennie's mother would have called "only child syndrome". Her logic was twisty and manipulative and only made sense in her head.

Viola nodded. "But Ezra actually drives then."

EJ stood for Ezra James, but he never went by Ezra. He didn't hate it, as EJ never seemed to muster up the energy to hate anything, but he certainly didn't like people calling him Ezra. So, naturally, Viola called him that.

Viola had a talent for doing whatever a guy claimed that he found annoying, and still make them absolutely fall for her. Jennie would say that it was a special case with EJ, but this was not the first time Jennie had been witness to it. In fact, they had met under somewhat unusual circumstances.

Jennie had this ex-boyfriend from the time she had spent going to school in Boston. They had dated, grown apart, he had moved to Manhattan and they stayed friends. One day, he had announced he had met the most fantastic, awesome girl of all time. And that Jennie just had to meet her. That sounded like the exact opposite of what Jennie wanted to do, but eventually it had happened and that girl was Viola Marin. Viola had done many things that Jennie's ex had previously found annoying, but seemed to find absolutely charming when Viola did it.

Eventually this had all gone horribly wrong and the two hated each other. It was amusing when it wasn't annoying. His name was Adam, but Viola always referred to him as Voldermort.

"You sound like my mother when you call me that," EJ informed Viola, because there were few things he enjoyed more than irritating and torturing his roommate. It was a constant surprise whenever Jennie made the venture over to Brooklyn and found their apartment blood and guts free.

"Disgusting," was all Viola responded to that.

Jennie was proud. She had once had to bear witness to an argument over the fact that EJ had forgotten his plans for spring break (which was going to Jamaica with Viola), and Viola would only be upset over this forgetfulness while not letting him know what it was that he had forgotten. Somewhere in this argument EJ had managed to forget what it was the argument was over. Viola's reaction had been to take out a kitchen knife and stab him to death. Not really, but at the time, Jennie had feared this outcome. Instead, Viola had made a sound of frustration and stormed off for several days. Shortly after her return, EJ had walked up to them in the middle of a conversation and announced, "Jamaica, how could I forget Jamaica?" and then wandered off again.

Every day with EJ was a magnificent adventure.

Thankfully, wonderfully, miraculously, Jennie was driving. They had come across a gas station, which Viola had eagerly pulled into. EJ had been eager to teach Viola about the wonderful experience of pumping gas into a car. Viola had reacted predictably, and had simply walked away. She had returned ten minutes later with a pack of cigarettes, gum and a large can of Colt 45. Jennie had taken the cigarettes, EJ the gum and Viola was now sitting in the backseat nursing her beer.

"What would you have done if we had died while I drove?" Viola considered out loud. She was stretched out in the backseat, her now bare feet propped up on the shoulder of EJ's.

EJ took a moment to consider this. "Been dead."

He didn't seem all that torn up about it, either. Jennie supposed he wouldn't, she supposed she wouldn't either. Maybe that's why they did stupid things such as let Viola drive.

Viola didn't seem to have a response to that. This was a rare occasion where she let something go, and instead looked out the window. It seemed to be contagious, because EJ also lapped into silence, and Jennie had previously been unsure if he could function without talking every moment.

Now she couldn't take it any longer, despite how irritating they had been thus far on the trip. She loved them both to death, but the scale sometimes tipped closer to the death weight than the love one. Especially when stuck in closed quarters with them for long periods of time.

"We have an hour left," she said, for lack of anything else to say. "And Vee, don't even question that Vermont is more than an hour long."
Viola, whose mouth had been formed to speak, closed her mouth. "It's a valid question."

"I'd like to move after grad school," EJ spoke up. When he spoke it usually had little to do with the current discussion. He was now twisted in some uncomfortable way in his seat, addressing both Viola and Jennie.

Viola frowned. No, she wouldn't like that. She brought her feet down, sitting up straighter. "Where is there to move to?"

"Forty-nine other states," Jennie offered. "Thousands of other cities. Dozens and dozens of other countries, six other continents…"

Living anywhere other than New York was a difficult concept for her best friend to grasp. She had a somewhat limited worldview where she only cared about New York. It wasn't bad; in theory people should love where they lived.

"I should live in them all." EJ said it, and it was difficult to tell if it was a joke or not. Living everywhere at least once in his life would seem a plausible idea to EJ. "Should the five boroughs be counted separately?"

"No," Viola spoke up, shaking her head. She took a sip before explaining. "It's useless to live in Staten Island."

EJ sighed before addressing Viola. Jennie could already guess what he was going to say. "You're such a fucking hipster."

Viola shrugged. The insulting label didn't bother her like it bothered other defensive Brooklynites. "I was raised in Astoria and live in Brooklyn, did I ever have a chance?"

EJ seemed to consider this as a valid point. Then he shrugged. "And I don't know where."

Viola looked out the window, resting her forehead against the glass. "I think it's pointless to move."

There was a good chance they may have been lost. Jennie knew this because she knew the route from her apartment in Manhattan to her father's house in Burlington, and she knew it well. However, Viola had been driving, and Jennie had spent a good part of that sleeping and now she was fairly certain they were nowhere near where they were suppose to be.

She should have realized this sooner. There were only so many major roads in Vermont. It was not like Long Island, where she had spent the second half of her child hood, where it didn't matter what road you were on as all you had to do was take the next exit and end up on an entirely different highway. But, she hated this trip and tended to work on autopilot once she started the drive there. She only assumed that Viola knew how to read the directions there.

Jennie was already starting to see the flaw in her thought process. Viola could read subway maps and train schedules but directions were probably beyond her grasp. Or else she was frightened by the concept of anything didn't look like a major highway and got confused. She shouldn't be so harsh on her best friend, but sometimes, Viola was asking for it.

"Vee," Jennie spoke up. "Where the fuck are we?"

Viola had been playing with the tab on her now empty can and she stopped and looked up. "Hell or purgatory, I assume."

"Can't be," EJ shook his head. "There's no hell for me so I wouldn't be here."

"Oh," Viola shrugged. "Then we are at the top of nowhere."

Jennie bit her lip and resisted the urge to sigh. EJ's Judaism and Viola's disregard of places outside of the City were not really the point right now. "I don't think we're heading north."

"Are we headed south?" Viola asked, sitting up and setting the can aside on the floor. "Maybe, south west?"

"We are not headed back to New York," Jennie did sigh this time. "I don't know where we're headed."

"We don't need to be headed anywhere," EJ pointed out. "It's called exploring."

"Oh Jesus," Viola groaned. "I'm going to get sea sick if we do."

"Mountain sick," he corrected her. "Or maybe forest sick. Not sea sick."

Viola only responded by kicking the back of his seat.

It was typical, Viola needed a destination, and EJ did not need one at all. It was no wonder they bickered so much. Jennie was forever in between, not sure or knowing where she went as long as she ended up somewhere.

It took an additional forty minutes, but eventually Jennie pulled into the rocky driveway that belonged to her brother and father. It looked just the same as it always did each time she made this trip. She never did, but those changes were external and shallow. It was a pattern, a routine, despite the fact that it appeared different when she brought along two of her friends.

She would go up to her brother's room, and he would hug her. They'd walk down the stairs and walk to the waterfront. There was a stand there, with ice cream and hot dogs and she'd buy one or the other. They'd sit on the swings facing out towards Lake Champlain and they'd rock, back and forth, back and forth. Her brother's eyes would get wide the fear of falling into the lake every time his feet appeared to be directly above the water, and he'd breathe a sigh of relief when they went back over land.

Hours and hours would pass, and she'd collect her belongings and get back in the car and pretend like this life had never existed.